Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Road To Build Enlightenment

A recurring story in software development (especially large ones) is the difficulty of getting a new commer up and running. You hear phrases like "it works on my machine", "I had the same problem 6 months ago, but forgot how we solved it". Read If They Come, How Will They Build It for details of this nightmare. I heard the following more than I care remembering (and I will kill someone the next time!):

"Ed: It's taken me nearly two weeks of stuffing around to get a development environment setup for AccountView. That's a fair productivity hit. have you considered writing all the necessary steps down so that newcomers can just follow the instructions instead of having to piece it together for themselves.

Mike: documentation, I'd love to write a dev env setup guide, but I just don't have the time!"

"The idea of the existing project staff having a responsibility to define their own work procedures and methods with sufficient rigor that it is possible for new arrivals to get up to speed, just doesn't seem to occur to anyone."

Fortunately, the cure is well known. The Road To Build Enlightenment: "This article describes the properties of an effective build system, starting from the most basic requirements and working towards more advanced features. Follow the article step-by-step to drag your build system out of the darkness and attain build enlightenment!"

See also The F5 Key Is Not a Build Process

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